Stop making these common mistakes!
Parenting a puppy has its ups and downs. Picking up poop, walking in the rain and cold, or licking your face after seeing him lick his butt can be forgotten in a heartbeat as soon as you see his tail wag and his face light up after a long, hard day.
Let's face it, our puppies are always there for us and have been the silent heroes of this pandemic, supporting us morally and serving as an excuse to get out a little. They continually help us feel happy and loved, but it's up to us to make sure we do our best to keep our favorite furballs happy, and healthy. However, thinking we're doing the right thing or being careless, we can make dangerous mistakes without realizing it!
What are the mistakes that put my doggie in danger?
1/ Choosing the wrong collar
Something as benign as the choice of your dog's collar can go very wrong. And unfortunately, if you choose the wrong collar, it can lead to situations that can quickly become stressful or even traumatic for you and your puppy.
There are many different types of dog collars. You must therefore make sure that you choose the one that suits your dog and his lifestyle;
- Flat collar: the most common type, with an adjustable buckle.
- Breakaway collar: made with a buckle that comes off if your dog gets stuck, so he won't choke or hang himself.
- Harness: fits around your dog's chest and upper body to reduce strain on the throat and neck.
- Each type of dog collar has its advantages and disadvantages. So you need to decide which one is best for your dog and go from there.
Once you have chosen the best type of collar, you need to make sure it is the right size. If the collar or harness is too big, your puppy could slip off and escape, turning your relaxing walk into a surprise puppy chase, which can cause a few scares you don't need! This can be very dangerous, especially if you live in an urban area where there's a good chance your puppy could get hit by a vehicle.
On the other hand, if he is too small, the tight collar can cause discomfort, choking and distress. If you have a small puppy, you should always be able to slip a finger between the collar and your dog's neck. For larger dogs, it's two fingers, rather than one.
Petlab Co. Best advice: Keep checking the collar size with your fingers. Just like us, your dog can gain weight, so make sure the collar is still the right size and fit for your companion.
2/ Leaving your puppy in the car
You should never leave your dog alone in your car under any circumstances. Even if you have the best intentions in the world, opening the window a little, turning on the air conditioning and playing his favorite music can make him very sick, or worse, kill him!
Did you know that the temperature in your car can rise in just 10 minutes? In that time, the temperature can rise by 20 degrees, even if the car is parked in the shade. Dogs don't sweat like we do, which means they can overheat much more quickly, and within 15 minutes, some animals have suffered brain damage or died from the effects of heat stroke.
Symptoms of overheating include:
- Heavy drooling
- Heavy panting
If you notice that your doggie is showing any of the above signs, it is imperative that you seek medical attention as soon as possible.
3/ Physical punishment
Of course, all dogs need to be trained, but physical punishment is never acceptable: it is simply and purely cruelty to animals. Physically punishing your dog may actually do the opposite of what you want, because your puppy will be afraid of you. He will begin to cower, hide, freeze and urinate out of fear. You may think you're "teaching" him, but in fact, your dog will only think about the pain he feels, instead of learning a lesson.
The best way to train your puppy? Reward-based training, because it builds trust between you and your four-legged friend, while physical punishment teaches your dog to be wary of all humans. Reward-based training can encourage your dog to learn to behave in a more desirable way, without creating fear.
4/ Yelling or screaming at your dog
Just like physical punishment, this does not work. Your dog, especially when he is young, does not understand the meaning of words. Yelling "no" or "stop" will not make any sense to him, it will only cause him stress and confusion.
5/ Let them eat everything
It can be very difficult to fight his little wet puppy eyes looking at human food, but you have to be strong! Many of our foods can be too salty, too fatty, and too spicy for our pups, which can lead to painful health complications.
Xylitol is found in many human foods, such as candy, ketchup, strawberries and raspberries, and if your puppy eats too much of it, it can cause his blood sugar to drop, which can lead to liver failure.
On the other hand, if you're someone who gives in easily to the puppy's gaze, you're actually encouraging learned bad behavior. By giving your dog leftover food during your own meal, you are teaching him to expect food when you eat, which leads to negative behaviors such as begging. Try to avoid giving your dog food from your plate while you are eating.
6/ Neglecting your dog's teeth
Imagine waking up in the morning and not brushing your teeth... or getting ready for bed after eating a kebab without brushing your teeth... you'd feel dirty, messy and very unhygienic, right? Just think of the bad breath!
80% of dogs over the age of three have some form of dental disease, which can lead to serious health problems. Why? Well, because only 2% of doggie parents report brushing their pet's teeth.
We know that many of our dogs don't like to have their teeth brushed, which can deter us from doing it - because it means less stress for both of you. But there are other ways to promote your puppy's oral hygiene without having to shove a brush in his mouth and end up with hands full of drool.
We recommend starting a dental hygiene routine while they're young, as this will help them get used to the toothbrush, dental stick or dog mouthwash. Start by aiming for 3 days a week, but if you can do it every day, that would be even better. Also, ask your vet to check your dog's teeth at least twice a year to prevent serious health problems.
7/ Too little stimulation
Dogs need constant mental and physical stimulation, especially working breeds. If a dog is not stimulated enough, he may dig, chew furniture and engage in other destructive behaviors, which are not beneficial to you, him or your furniture!
From training to chew toys, there are lots of things you can do to make sure your puppy stays stimulated and doesn't get bored. Regular walks are a must, they give you and your dog exercise, but they also provide important sensory stimulation.
8/ Going to a dog park too soon
Bringing a new puppy into the family can be extremely exciting, but some things should be done a little slower than others...
Taking your puppy for his first walk is an important step, as it's a time for bonding between you and your fur baby - and it's a time when he'll meet other dogs.
Socialization is important, but it can be dangerous to start too early. If you take your new puppy to a dog park too soon, he may play rough and get hurt. Dogs like to fight, chase and wrestle, which may be too much for your young furry friend. Larger, older dogs can also scare your puppy and make him afraid. Not to mention the risk of contracting a disease from other dogs. It's best to wait until your dog has had all his shots and is old enough to participate in play. You can think of this stage as your dog's entry into kindergarten, which is a very beneficial stage but can also be a source of stress, so don't rush things.
9/ Giving him access to dangerous objects
Our furry friends are known to be adventurous and curious, which can get them into all sorts of more or less dangerous situations. So do your best to protect your home from your dogs by putting away anything they might chew or swallow: pills, batteries, magnets, screws and coins.
Now, when it comes to socks, all dogs seem to have a thing for them! They love to play with them, chew them and hide them. However, if your puppy eats or swallows even part of the sock, it can get stuck in his throat, which is extremely dangerous and can cause choking. So be careful and watch your dog when he plays with a sock, and if your dog swallows any part of the fabric, contact your vet as soon as possible!
10/ Neglecting the specific needs of certain breeds of dogs
It's never too late to find out about your dog's breed. Whether you do it before you buy/adopt your puppy or after you've made him part of your family, learning everything you need to know about his specific breed will be a great help in getting to know your new companion better.
Many of us are guilty of doing neither, which can result in inadequate grooming, training and early health support. For example, if you have a Labrador Retriever, you need to know about the most common health issues in his breed, or a Basset Hound, which requires specific grooming and regular ear and eye checks because of his droopy skin and large floppy ears.